EU clowns: Brussels splurged £23 million on circus acts – and YOU paid
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A cache of internal documents, seen by Express.co.uk, shows the European Union spending more than £23 million on big top spectacles inside and out of the bloc. The money went to organisations, such as the Palestinian Circus School and the Fekat Circus Club in Ethiopia, to help stage numerous events to promote culture, unity and healthy living over the last six years. Funding came out of the bloc’s current budget, meaning British taxpayers were forced to cough up just under £3 million between 2014 and 2019.
Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party, said: “I always said it was a circus and we are the clowns still paying.”
German MEP Nicolaus Fest, who unearthed some of the information, added: “We all know the EU constantly reminds us it’s a circus, in fact many of my fellow colleagues here act like clowns, but I never thought they would go so far as to actually fund the circus.
“Taxpayers deserve better than to have their hard-earned money squandered on such extravagant comedy.”
Among the eye-watering handouts were two separate £456,000 grants to Circusnext, which boasts on its website of promoting “European cooperation”, between 2018 and 2019.
The group claims to put on shows with jugglers, acrobats, tightrope walkers and contortionists in at least 20 international countries.
The figures also show £279,000 was splurged to help the Fekat Circus Club buy a big top tent.
The troupe’s website celebrates the support from the EU, claiming the bloc has helped them use the circus to “save the planet”.
And another £138,000 was splashed on “fostering unity and diversity through circus arts” in Palestine.
Eurocrats from the EU’s Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations team sanctioned the spending as part of the bloc’s foreign policy strategy.
A further £182,000 was given to Wires Crossed, a project co-founded by the EU, to teach people tightrope walking in Belgium, Ireland and Romania.
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According to an audit of EU spending, the European Commission forked out on grants for more than 400 circus-related projects since 2014.
The majority of the spending was delivered through the bloc’s Erasmus student exchange scheme.
British circus acts were granted £721,000 from the multi-billion pound learning fund over the last six years.
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In the post-Brexit talks with the EU, Downing Street negotiators have enquired about rejoining the programme after the end of the year.
Express.co.uk has contacted the European Commission for a response.
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